Goodbye, Papa Bear

I’ve just heard the sad news and would like to call for a moment of silence. Stan Berenstain passed away on Saturday. For those of you living under a rock in Ulaanbaatar, Stan and Jan Berenstain gave us the Berenstain Bear books, and even though the stories were a bit stiff and preachy, I’ve always thought the tree house, Bigpaw’s Lair, the woods and all of Bear Country were fantastic products of a colorful imagination.

I’d especially like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the man who was indirectly responsible for one of my fondest memories- the icing, if you will, on an official Day of Joy Overload:

Once upon a time in The Land of College Experience, Pickle and I had the brilliant idea of combining
Worlds of Fun and mushrooms (the magic kind). For the occasion, we developed a highly intellectual code that enabled us to speak freely of the trip, our addled condition remaining undetected by the common, unfortunately sober public (because drugs make you clever and also very sly). We floated through the day comparing how we were/should be affected by the sun, crowds, smells and food “today” (drugged to a state of molasses-smooth elation) vs. “yesterday” (not), i.e., "Yesterday that jerk that just cut in line would have really bothered me. Today? Not so much." We weathered our apprehension at the very idea! of riding a dragon, and groaned in disgust at the recurring view of long-nailed girlfriends intently picking at their ape boyfriends’ neck pimples. We ventured into the Africa section of the park and gleefully threw mental hugs at the perfection found in the sight of skinny kids sporting afros, in line for the Shaka Zulu.

Sometime later, we rounded a corner into a real-life version of
Berenstain Bear Country. Faced with this amazing, generous nod at my childhood (which I assumed had been manufactured in that moment, JUST FOR ME), a jubilant fire spread from my heart to my throat to my twice-baked brain as quickly as my grin spread from ear to ear. There was no way to contain this all-encompassing, hugely overwhelming, body slam of joy. “This,” I tearfully (and loudly) proclaimed, “is the happiest. day. of my LIFE!”

Thank you Stan, you made my day.

3 comment:

Blogger Lisa said...

My little guy LOVES the Bear family. And your story was quite entertaining. :-)

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Pickle said...

I've finally found your blog! And all it took was you leading me directly to it! I have a lot of catching up to do here.

Do you remember how adoreably frightening it was watching kids go into the scary tree?

And how awful those burgers were?

And how everyone's pocket change was raining down around us on the Sea Dragon?

I remember those people on the swinging bungee thing who kept swooping over our heads. We sat there and relaxed after a ride, and every five minutes two people strapped to each other would scream as they flew by.

Good times.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous quinn said...

Damn, I forgot about that swinging bungee experience! And the terrible burgers! (but don't you think ANY snack would have been terrible that day? I mean, for me, shrooms always seemed to make food and beverage, just... unnecessary and kind of alien.)

9:56 AM  

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